When we started the SINE foundation, it was a passion project run by a diverse group of specialists with academic and entrepreneurial backgrounds. Today, we work together with leading global corporations to accelerate decarbonisation. As experienced tech entrepreneurs, we build state-of-the-art cryptography and have very high expectations when it comes to our work. We quickly understood that we need a growing team of full-time employees in order to realize our mission.
One of our main themes is data collaboration: How do we need to distribute information in a complex system so that the system can make the best possible decisions? So why not apply the same principles for growing SINE as well?! Why not go beyond the traditional recruitment process? Normally, new hires are trained “on the job” by connecting with their colleagues and exclusively learning from them. At SINE, we want to take a different approach: We’ll equip our newly hired colleagues with the means to learn from others, not only our existing team, but also and especially outside experts that aren’t even part of the broader SINE network – yet.
We are very happy to announce that we just hired Raimundo as a Junior Full Stack Developer. For his first year working with us, we set up an intense training program. In addition, he receives a significant training budget to book external personal mentors, take (online) classes, and buy all the books he needs to become a solid developer – and more. As a first milestone, he will build a Wordle application on top of our SMPC engine – stay tuned for updates!
But now, Raimundo, welcome to the team, please introduce yourself with a few words!
Hello and thank you for the introduction! My name is Raimundo, I have a BA and an MA in Philosophy and a PhD in Literary Theory, all from the University of Lisbon. Right after submitting my PhD thesis, I decided to pursue a long postponed passion for technology and enrolled in Le Wagon's full stack web development bootcamp in Lisbon. Things went quite well and I became a Teaching Assistant there. I realized that I really enjoyed coding and wanted to pursue a career as a developer. At that point, the opportunity to join SINE appeared – and here I am!
What does Literary Theory and Coding have in common?
Despite its name, the Program in Literary Theory is really more a Program in the Humanities, broadly construed. There are people working on Literature, but also in Philosophy, Art Criticism, and all sorts of cultural subjects. This is based on the belief that (most of) the Humanities do not need the sort of division into highly specific disciplines that characterizes Science. And for a good reason: In order to work within the Humanities, one needs to be able to analyze texts and problems, break complex tasks into smaller ones, develop lines of reasoning and argument to support a given position or interpretation and express intricate ideas as simply and clearly as possible.
I might be new to coding, but it seems to me that these skills can not only be transferred, but even are fundamental to coding, too! After all, it is all a matter of problem-solving, often with very high levels of abstraction, and creating something complex out of simple building blocks, all while striving to be as clear as possible. As a graduate student, one also learns to keep on learning and adapting. As technology keeps evolving and changing, I believe this too is crucial for coding.
In my particular case there are, nevertheless, some more direct connections with coding. My path was mainly in Philosophy and the topic of my PhD thesis is mainly philosophical – although there is some architectural theory in it, as well. As such, I have received training in formal logic and ever since my Masters, I have been focusing on early twentieth century philosophy, where the development of formal logic was a central theme (my main focus has been on Wittgenstein's early work). Thus, using formal languages was not alien to me and I was acquainted with a certain way of thinking that can also be found in coding.
What excites you about the SINE Foundation?
When I started looking for jobs after the bootcamp, it became clear that, for the most part, my previous academic experience was not very relevant. I was ready for this, as I knew I was changing careers, but it can nevertheless be frustrating. When I started talking with the people at SINE, it became immediately obvious that, if they hired me, it would be because and not despite my background in the Humanities. This was extremely encouraging and it says something important about SINE: That people and their different perspectives are valued more than purely technical skills.
This is not to say that technical skills are not important. However SINE trusts that, under certain conditions, they can be learned. Thus, SINE decided to invest in my training, allowing me to acquire those technical skills, while keeping the specific perspective I might bring to the table. All this will happen through an unprecedented training model, where, with SINE's support, I will be able to build my own curriculum and learn the technologies that might be most useful at each moment. SINE believes in me and wants to make sure I receive the most adequate training to become a solid developer. It is impossible not to be excited about an organization that treats you like this!
In more general terms, it is quite exciting and fascinating that the SINE Foundation is all about purpose: to put technology – in particular: cryptography – to the service of society and humanity as a whole. It is not just a matter of being innovative, but being innovative for the good it might bring. This is absolutely clear in the ongoing WBCSD project, but also in the many other areas where SINE's cryptographic engine and ideas can be applied. As someone coming from the Humanities and with a philosophical mindset, it can sometimes be frustrating to feel like the big picture is not sufficiently appreciated; that companies and people don't ask themselves why they do what they do. At SINE, this is not the case: here, the "Why" is always present and can be found everywhere, from the projects to the working conditions. At SINE, innovation and technology go hand in hand with the sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing that one is actually contributing for something big. That is definitely exciting!